Shiba Inus vs Foxes: The Surprising Similarities Explained

You might have noticed that your Shiba Inu bears a striking resemblance to a fox. The resemblance goes beyond their similar facial expressions and fluffy tails; they share several physical traits that have led many people to take a second glance at your dog. But why does your Shiba look so much like a fox?

shiba inu sitting on a dog bed

Are Shiba Inus Related To Foxes?

It’s easy to see why you might think Shibas look like foxes with their similar coat colors and perky ears. However, Shiba Inus are not directly related to foxes. They are a breed of dog, while foxes are a completely different species.

While Shibas and foxes do share some physical traits, they are more like distant cousins in the animal kingdom. What connects them is that they both belong to the Canidae family, which includes dogs, wolves, and foxes. However, that’s where the connection ends.

Although they may look closely related, Shiba Inus will display more dog-like behaviors than foxes. Their instincts, temperament, and training will all lean more towards dogs than foxes. So, if you’re looking to adopt a Shiba Inu, don’t worry, you’re not bringing a fox into your home!

Physical Characteristics Of A Shiba Inu

You might have noticed that your Shiba Inu looks a lot like a fox. This resemblance is due to several physical features that have evolved in this breed, originally from Japan. Let’s dig into these characteristics and explore why your Shiba might look like a cunning little fox.

First off, the coat color of a Shiba Inu is quite similar to that of a fox. Mainly, red Shiba Inus present a striking resemblance to foxes. However, Shibas also come in other coat colors such as sesame, grey, and silver. No matter the color, their thick double coat helps them in both hot and cold climates and requires shedding, or “blowing coat,” twice a year.

Another distinctive feature shared between your Shiba Inu and foxes is their facial structure. The muzzle of a Shiba Inu is quite narrow, tapering off into a pointy snout. They also have highly expressive eyes that appear sly and intelligent. When you glance at pictures of these adorable dogs, you can surely see the fox-like charm in their gaze.

One of the main similarities lies in the ears of the Shiba Inu. These spitz-type dogs have perky, triangular ears, much like those of a fox. Referred to as “airplane ears,” they give your Shiba Inu an alert, energetic, and curious appearance. While sharing similarities with a fox, this look is also quite different from other canines like hunting dogs or more gentle-looking breeds like a Golden Retriever.

As for size, the Shiba Inu scales are like a small to medium-sized dog, which falls in line with the sizing of the average fox. Males typically weigh 18-24 pounds, while females are between 15-20 pounds. The height of a Shiba Inu can be anywhere from 13.5 to 16.5 inches tall.

Lastly, the Shiba Inu’s personality traits bear some resemblance to foxes as well. Both animals are known for their agility, high energy, and independent nature. Although Shibas are intelligent and can be trained, they can also be a bit stubborn, making some owners liken them to cats. Shiba scream, a unique vocal quirk of Shiba Inus, is a distinctive signal that they’re either unhappy or excited, contributing to their fox-like demeanor.

As you can see, there are indeed several physical characteristics and personality traits that make your Shiba Inu look like a fox. So don’t be surprised when people notice and comment on the uncanny resemblance between your canine companion and their foxy counterparts!

Physical Characteristics Of A Red Fox

When you look at your Shiba, you might be wondering why it looks so much like a fox. This is because both Shibas and red foxes share some similar facial features, making them appear strikingly similar at times! Let’s dive into the physical characteristics of a red fox to see why the resemblance is there.

Can You Keep A Red Fox As A Pet?

While they are intelligent and agile, foxes are more wild than domestic dogs like Shibas and are better suited for life in the wild. Let’s examine the similarities and differences between red foxes and Shibas, including their facial features, fur coloring, and overall size.

What Other Dog Breeds Look Like Foxes?

You may be curious if there are other dog breeds that resemble foxes besides your adorable Shiba. Luckily, several breeds share fox-like features such as pointy ears, bushy tails, and agile bodies. Let’s take a casual stroll through some of the most fox-like dog breeds.


Your Shiba Inu might look like a fox because they share some striking physical similarities. While both are carnivorous mammals, foxes and Shiba Inus belong to different families: foxes are from the Canidae family, and Shiba Inus are a breed of dog. The similarities in their appearances are a result of adaptations from living in similar environments.

The Shiba Inu has a thick coat, which is perfect for the colder climates of the mountainous regions of Japan where they originated. Their fur helps to keep them warm, and its reddish color helps them blend in with the landscape. Foxes, on the other hand, often have reddish coats too, which makes them easier to camouflage in their environment. This color similarity makes for one reason why your Shiba Inu might be mistaken for a fox.

Another reason why your Shiba might look like a fox is their pointy ears and bushy tails. Both species have these features as they help them in their adaptations to their environments. For instance, their pointy ears allow them to pick up high-frequency sounds, which comes in handy when hunting for food or sensing danger. Their bushy tails aid in maintaining balance and staying warm in colder temperatures.

Lastly, the size of your Shiba Inu can also contribute to the fox-like resemblance. Shiba Inus are small to medium-sized dogs with an average weight of about 20 pounds, which is closer in size to many fox species. This size similarity, combined with their shared coat color and features, can easily lead to a mistaken identity between the two animals.

So, don’t be surprised if people occasionally mistake your Shiba Inu for a fox. Their resemblance is thanks to Mother Nature providing them with similar features to thrive in their environments. Just remember, although they may look alike, Shiba Inus and foxes are indeed distinct species with their own unique characteristics.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Shiba Inus And Foxes Related?

Shiba Inus and foxes are not related. Although they might look similar due to their reddish fur and pointy ears, they are separate species. Shibas are part of the dog family, Canidae, whereas foxes have their own genus, Vulpes.

Why Does My Shiba Inu Look Different?

Each Shiba Inu has its own unique appearance, influenced by factors such as genetics and coat color. There are four standard colors for Shiba Inus: red, black and tan, sesame, and cream. Generally, Shiba Inus with a red coat tend to resemble foxes, but that doesn’t mean they’re related.

Are Shiba Inus Part Wolf?

While all dogs, including Shiba Inus, share a common ancestry with wolves, they are not considered part wolf. Over the years, domesticated dogs have diverged from their wolf ancestors through selective breeding and natural evolution.

Why Do Shiba Inus Look Like Miniature Huskies?

Shiba Inus and Huskies share some similar physical traits, such as a fluffy, double coat and pointy ears, but they are not closely related. The resemblance between the two breeds is coincidental, not due to a direct genetic connection.

Are There Any Breeds That Resemble Shibas?

There are other dog breeds that bear a resemblance to Shiba Inus. Some of these breeds include the Akita Inu, Hokkaido Inu, and Finnish Spitz. However, each breed has its own distinct characteristics and is classified under different breed groups.

How Can I Tell If My Shiba Inu Is Purebred?

To know if your Shiba Inu is purebred, look for physical traits like “urajiro” markings, a sickle-shaped tail, and specific coat colors. However, a pedigree certificate or DNA test is the most accurate way to confirm.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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